Sup, pup. I neglected to write an XFA entry last night which was quite irritating because the whole point of this blasted site is for me to write an entry every night. Well no matter. I’ve already punished myself Dobby-style for my error, so hopefully it won’t happen again.
Now then, I really think the title says it all here. However, because I want to write more, I feel it would be prudent (and at the very least fair to you, my treasure reader) to give some context for my claim regarding the nature of music.
For the past few days, I have been alternating between working on the XFA site and learning QFT by means of Srednicki’s book. I feel a deep existential compulsion to do both activities because I am a fallen human, but today I thought it might be nice to take a wee lil break from my regular activities to try to write some music. I have been listening a copious amount Grimes’s works lately (which should come as no surprise to those of you who read my post about my tragic, unrequited, animal-like love for Grimes), and I have been feeling inspired to convert some of my emotions and experiences into audible sauce, namely music.
As a quick side note, I learned today that Grimes is pregnant with Elon Musk’s baby. I have of course joked with my friends that Elon Musk’s children will likely rule us all one day, but come on. Grimes and Elon? I’m not sure the world is ready for their child. I’m honestly not convinced we’ll be able to classify the child as a human being.
I could probably write several more posts (or novels) about the supernatural powers Grelon’s (couple name) child will have, but I know you’re just itching to hear more about my musical endeavors. Fear not, patient reader, I will oblige.
I began my music-making sesh (short, of course, for session) today by listening attentively to a metronome pulsing at 84 bpm. After I had deeply internalized the beat, I began searching for compelling chord progression using a built-in synth in Ableton. After a couple minutes I found an intriguing combination of chords involving a very tempting Eaug chord and deliciously moving E7 chord. At this point, I was bit lost as to how I ought proceed. I eventually decided to write a rhythmic line for the chord progression, and then do my best to find a sick, sick beat over which I would lay the chords. It took a bit to finally get all this in place, but I eventually slide the chords into place over a hip-hop-like beat.
And let me tell you, it was awful. Perhaps someone else may have enjoyed it, but to my ears it sounded like a lifeless pile of oatmeal sludge.
The interesting thing is that I have in fact written several songs in my day. In my experience writing music, either the music you have written is either dead, passionless, and nauseating, or it’s the emotional equivalent of injecting ecstasy directly into your veins. Either it is everything, the only true reality, or it is absolutely worthless garbage.
The piece of sludge I had written therefore neatly fell into the category of worthless garbage. This was, of course, discouraging, and I generally lost all motivation to continue birthing audible sauce.
But then I found the chord.
As a last-ditch effort to try to feel something, I grabbed a virtual violin section and played around with the chord pattern I had found earlier. And then I stumbled upon the Fmaj7. And that is when my dying emotions found salvation. Pure ecstasy, my friends, pure ecstasy.
Finishing the original chord progression with an Fmaj7 generated an emotion of intensive sorrow mixed perfectly with intense hope. How do I better describe the emotion? Let me give an analogy.
Imagine a military commander of a small nation is under attack from the Roman Empire. This particular commander is an absolute genius, but he knows that eventually his nation will be defeated by the greater empire and be forced into servitude. Nothing does this commander desire more than for the freedom of his nation, and so he orders a small portion of the population to flee into the wilderness away from the Romans. He knows, however, that if unimpeded, the Romans will overtake the refugees, and so this commander begins a series of strategically masterful attacks against the Romans to divert their attention from the refugees. After months of strategic genius, the Romans eventually break through the commander’s defenses. During the final battle of this war, the commander is stabbed through stomach, and slowly bleeds out on the battle ground while the Romans meticulously deconstruct the last of the small nation’s defenses. In his last moments, all the commander can see is destruction and chaos. Men lie slaughtered on the battle field next to burning defenses. It is a scene of utter desolation.
Yet the commander knows that because of his masterful campaigns, the refugees from his small nation have a chance at survival.
It is precisely the emotion of this commander in his last moments of life that is captured in chords I found.
I had been planning on going into a large-scale discussion of the analogous nature of writing music and organic life forms, but I am immensely tired, and I need to sleep. Perhaps some other time, potentially faithful reader. For now, I will end by remarking that music is indeed fundamentally powerful. It is truly remarkable that music “sounds” like emotion. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that music evokes emotion.
Because of perception of reality can generally be broken up into logic and emotion (I realize that’s an overgeneralization, but it’ll do for now), in order to fully communicate our perception of reality to another individual, you must convey both the logic and the emotion. Conveying the logic is easy. We have oral language and the written word. Conveying emotion is much more difficult, because emotion cannot easily be quantified. Thus it is truly remarkable that we are able to communicate emotions with one another by means of music. In that sense, music perhaps is as fundamental a tool to humans as the written word.
I guess that’s why I have so much respect for Grimes.